"When you go to hide a cache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot.
If the only reason is for the cache, then find a better spot."
.... Briansnat


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The (Not So Scientific) Plastic Ammo Can Experiment

We've been seeing a number of plastic ammo cans in the woods as cache containers. In December, Harbor Freight began offering one variety for $4.99 at their stores. I bought two and decided to see if the inside would stay dry during a NE Ohio winter.

After two months in a meek and mild winter, the answer was no. The ammo can had a small puddle of water on the floor and condensation on the inside of the lid.

The containers are still heavy gage and could serve well in a sheltered place like under a rock shelf. I plan to remove the gasket from one and use it as double gasket to see if that closes out the water. One user on the Harbor Freight site also said a bead of silicone provided a more compressible gasket and water-tight gasket. We will see how those experiments work. I really want one of these to be dry enough for a puzzle cache or two with combo locks. :)

Monday, March 06, 2017

I'm not sure.....

I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

I really don't like the "free" app. I don't find it user-friendly. It is certainly not intuitive.

It would be nice if someone instructed the developers that...
- There is NO MEDIUM size in geocaching. How about calling it a REGULAR? I know it's two more syllables, but try it.
- RECENT LOGS is a common-sense term for most users. ACTIVITY is not.
- Is it really impossible to add a second digit to the right of the decimal point for users not stopping in parking lots or by guardrails?

It seems the company has a never-ending drive to attract some mythical outdoorsy, hipster customer base no matter how much the existing customers are alienated. I see very few of that demographic group entering the game and staying. Free smart phone aps seem to be throwaways. After seventeen years is that where geocaching is headed? The game isn't unknown anymore and doesn't attract a buzz. It will never go viral. Those days have passed.

It will take hard, focused efforts to KEEP THE EXISTING, LOYAL CUSTOMERS and attract new loyal customers. Replacing a functioning, popular app with a free, less user-friendly app will not keep loyal customers.

I'm not sure what I will do. I have used the company's app because it was the right thing to do. I paid for it willingly. I am thrilled I still use my gps for the vast majority of geocaching and happy to have a spare, but it was great to be able to stop at a rest stop outside the area loaded in my gps and see on the app there was a happy bonus find in the rest area. I guess it is time to download c:geo to see if it meets my needs.

Beyond that, I am feeling like the company no longer cares if I am a customer. Have I gotten too old? Does my traffic to the site matter less than someone from another demographic? Am I too old fashioned because I like to find regular-sized caches in the woods? I understand an app user creates more site traffic than a traditional gps user, but gps users are loyal. They have invested money in the game.

I was unhappy to see Geocaching Challenges killed before they had a chance to grow and mature. I haven't Waymarked for years because it seems like an abandoned game left to wither. I was sad to see the heart carved out of Challenge Caches. To me, it was a clear call that the game was being driven by some other consumer segment of which I am not a part. I've been caching for nearly thirteen years. I expect if I am still walking this earth to be caching for another thirteen. That is more loyalty than the site can begin to expect from the next 100,000 smart phone app downloads, but they leave me feeling like a take it or leave it customer.

The good news is when I stop geocaching, there will still be trails to hike with mountains, flowers, birds, animals, and rivers to see. I don't need the game as much as it needs me.

Friday, March 03, 2017

It Can Be Done

Just keep telling yourself it can be done. There are days when a micro in a parking lot can be a great way to take a break from everything else in your day, but they are all the same and don't give many good reasons to cache. Guardrails, lamp posts and big box stores all look alike. Who knows what adventure might be on a trail at a local park or what interesting part of history might be at a nearby cemetery. We started only non-micro caches on our vacation to Minnesota. We got to see so much more than stopping for quick roadside micros.